Confessions of a serial-creator
I'm not afraid to admit that I'm not particularly entrepreneurial. I do however have great commercial acumen and can see potential opportunities everywhere - I'm constantly coming up with ideas for (technical) solutions to problems (often my own) and gaps in the market. I'm fortunate to have a lengthy background in programming and web development, so I am always tinkering with new projects in my somewhat limited spare time - even if it's just to practice my craft and learn new techniques and technologies. I am a serial-creator.
For the past couple of years I have been keeping a Trello board of all the ideas - large and small - that I come up with, and regularly revisit it to flesh out the details. Some of my ideas only exist in this format whereas others have by and large been built out fully and are sitting gathering dust in my
Despite this constant making I said that I'm not particularly entrepreneurial, and that is because the part that doesn't particularly interest me (or doesn't play to my strengths) is the whole exercise of bringing something to market and making it a success. I've been involved with plenty of businesses where I've been able to develop and build whole swathes of great new technology, and have been fortunate enough to have colleagues who's strengths lie in bringing it to the masses. I know the theory of entrepreneurship and know exactly how to commercialise a product or feature - I'm just not the guy to follow through with it.
I guess the part of the process (the thrill, if you like) that I enjoy and excel at is the problem-solving. Whether it's my problem or somebody else's, the opportunity to understand a problem or see a gap in the market, and then create an elegant solution (or get somebody else started on their way)
I was having lunch with a recruiter in Perth a couple of months ago after being successfully placed in my current role, and we were talking about side-projects. He asked what I would create if I was given a couple hundred thousand dollars to build and bring something to market, and I honestly couldn't think of any single project from my Trello board that I would elevate above the rest to commercialise. I think I gave some cop-out answer like "there are a couple things I wouldn't mind looking at", but the reality is I would use the seed money to create a consultancy to help others build and commercialise their ideas (whether for a fee or for a stake in their future success). Funded by the consultancy, I would then connect with likeminded individuals with the skills that I lack to bring our own ideas to the market - starting small at first, but growing organically with the success of our own products.
Obviously nobody is about to just give me two hundred grand to embark on this little flight of fancy, and I'm lucky that my current role satisfies my appetite for problem solving. As far as my own ideas go, I've decided to start dusting off some of my old code and start writing about the original concepts (and the lessons learnt building them), as well as lifting the lid on a few of my more recent projects. If anyone is interested in an informal chat about getting your own ideas off the ground and built - and the technical hurdles that are ahead of you - feel free to reach out on LinkedIn and we can catch up over a coffee (if geography allows) or Skype.